I often find it hard to convey exactly what the differences are when I can't draw comparisons to ordinary things. Familiar things.
For instance; when we set our natural hair it can hold that set for weeks. When it gets ruined prematurely its because it shrinks further, frizzes up, or expands. Yet for very straight hair it "falls." Fast. How on earth do you explain your weekly or 2-3 times a week sets to someone who is only familiar with curls falling??
I struggle for words and resort to 'clay". Yes. My hair is like CLAY. When its wet and preparing to dry I can mold it into a variety of styles or sets and it will probably stay that way until some sort of water or moisture hits it again. Thus every time I wet it, I am presented with a very easy way to do something creative.
A something that must be done to some extent, lest I walk around with a huge shrunken (and dry!) mass on my head once it's any longer that 6".
They wouldn't like or understand that (whatever- it's not fair!). & I wouldn't like that for the health of my hair. Yes, we have the "wash and go," but is it really that? a "go"? Not so much. The clay factor still exists in that we generously apply some sort of sticky or tacky product to hold the curls together as it drys.
I'll get back to wash and go hair in a sec. But for the rest of the styles - twistouts, braid outs, protective updos - They stay. For days. And we can devise one on a whim any time we wet or dampen our hair. In fact, we can use heat to further set it, and even to set it bone straight in a press.
I think that they think that I change it to change it. That I wet it TO set it. That I feel compelled to make some new thing with my hair, out of boredom primarily. As in there is no way that they can bet assuredly on how I'll have my hair from day to day. But in fact, the opposite is more often true.
I had to cleanse it, so I had to re-set it. It got wet, or the humidity got it, so I had to start over. The product was building up, so I had to rinse it out, so I have to do something with it. For me, that something is highly dependent on how much time I have, the weather, and how close to the weekend it is lol.
I know some women have a tried and true routine or set, like a braid and curl. I on the other hand don't like to ever change my schedule for my hair. I definitely work my hair into my schedule. If I suddenly need to be somewhere in an hour, I WILL figure out something to do with my hair- even if u just caught me with sopping wet naked hair! What that does is cause a chain reaction where I may have to start over again sooner than I wanted to, or change my look to work with it. But "It's Just Hair."
SO I work with it. Yes it shrinks, and tangles and poofs and frizzes, and breaks off, and ties itself into tiny fairy knots -_____-
BUT, like clay, I can fix it, change and set it pretty easily.
So here is my point and a picture. I washed my hair this weekend and ran out of time to fully diffuse it to then stretch it into the look I was going for. I was already stuck with a wash and go type of deal with little weekend downtime to do more. & now had to run to an event and it was going to be what it was going to be. And damnit, that meant full shrinkage. So I had to think. I'll let it dry and shrink so I can get there on time, but I'll put a hard part right here, extra gel on top, and then tomorrow I can mold the front into a hump. yesssss. I'm outta here.
So I did that. and then I made the hump the next day. Then I went to work the following day with my hair formed into a cute bob shape...
that came to my chin. lol.
Sure enough someone asked if I'd cut it. And at this point me and my shrinkage were having a good ole time. I never even stretched it in the subsequent days. I just rolled and pinned and tucked and made a few shapes with my shrunken clay hair. And when fully shrunken the texture is everywhere and super velcrowy I can totally make things that stay put :-)
I do like it longer recently, as I am growing it out again (I think) and that hang time is different and new for now. But a shrunken week or two, or a frozen week-long bun, or a twistout that won't die just comes with the territory.
And I embrace it.
Even though the shape of my embrace might get stuck in my hair for a few days.
Shrunken. With LOTS of gel. KMF gel mixed with Sheamoisture curling soufflé. Interesting, but crunchy combo. More to come later on that.